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Can a judge throw me in jail if I cant pay my attorney and he withdraws?

Grand Prairie, TX |

My first attorney withdrew from my case right before trial. The judge gave me 30 days to get another one. I found another but his fee was really high and we made an agreement on using my car as collateral but then he came back and said it wasnt worth what his fee was. He told the judge he needed another week and the judge told me that if my attorney did not get paid within that week he wld allow him to w/draw and put me in jail. I tried to come up with more collateral but he doesnt want anything i try to give him. I have court tom and want to know if the judge can really throw me in jail? If so for how long? And what happens next? Its scheduled for trial.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. The judge can't throw you in jail for not having a lawyer, but you may be forced to defend yourself. If so, you are much more likely to end up in jail than if you have a lawyer.

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  2. Huuum. Most interesting. In my jurisdiction the judge would not let the attorney out of the case that close to trial if the only issue was non-payment of a fee.

    www.court-martial.com; www.court-martial.us.com; mljucmj@gmail.com 703-298-9562, 800-401-1583. Answering your question does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  3. Your post raises ethical issues only tangentially, if at all. This is really a criminal law issue, so I am editing the practice area and tag you selected to insure that you get responses from criminal defense lawyers, who are those best able to address your issue. I am not competent to address yoour issue.

    Good luck.


  4. I don't think a judge can throw you in jail if you cant afford to retain counsel but he may make you proceed to trial without an attorney. Have you asked for a court appointed counsel??


  5. The judge is not supposed to put you in jail for being indigent. That doesn't mean s/he won't do it. Have you never asked to apply for a court-appointed attorney? It certainly sounds like you need one. You're stuck because no attorney is going to sign on for the case at this point without a trial fee being paid in full upfront. And as one of my colleagues points out, many judges would not allow the new attorney to withdraw. He signed on to the case knowing it was set for trial. Collecting the fee is his problem.

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